An Epicurist’s Guide to Starting the Morning

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Published on the Relais & Châteaux Africa blog here

Epicurist. n a person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment (especially good food and drink).

Lemony Snicket (the American writer also known, much less excitingly, as Daniel Handler) once said that, “how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.” While some of us prescribe to the winging-it philosophy of life, many have discovered and held onto set routines that have become a strict guide to living. These rituals help to make sense of and to better control the infinite routes a day can take, and to ensure that we get to fit in time for that which should always come first, like family. Or breakfast.

Of all the morning routines of the world’s rich and famous, Steve Jobs’ simple but significant daily ritual speaks to me most. According to Fast Company, the late Apple CEO once said, in a speech to a graduating class at Stanford, “For the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

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Whether you prefer to start the day meditating on the end of life like Jobs, by lazing in bed until 11:00 a.m, ala Winston Churchill, or waking before dawn for an hour of tennis, like Vogue Editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, at some stage, the time for that first meal of the day arrives.

Perhaps it occurs around the table with family, like President Barack Obama, or while reading a “breakfast book,” an entertaining mystery or adventure novel, like author P.G. Wodehouse. Perhaps you prefer the same breakfast each day, also like Wodehouse (always toast, coffee cake, and tea), or a much greater variety.

If the event, and your choice of how to spend it, says anything about our individual characters, indulging in the gastronomic affair that is breakfast at AtholPlace Hotel & Villa in Sandton, Johannesburg, must shout, “Carpe diem! I live life to the fullest! Let them me eat cake!”

Below are a few images of our latest page out of the epicurist’s guide to starting the morning at AtholPlace Hotel & Villa – from the truffle-infused scrambled egg, with smoked salmon and rocket and toasted rye, to the French toast stack, with crispy bacon, brie, mushrooms, honey roasted nuts and herb pesto.

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